City center of Taichung
Together with Martin and Julian I decided on a free day to take the bus to the center of Taichung for a first look around. This is not easy to achieve without any knowledge in Chinese: all the bus information is only in Chinese language. The best way to plan a trip by bus is to ask a Taiwanese person for help. Next time I will ask my partner student. But that day we just met at the bus station and tried to figure out ourselves how to get to the city center.
At the bus stop an old man was working at piling up cardboard boxes on a wagon. Maybe for recycling? His dog was waiting patiently in one of the boxes.
I had downloaded the App “Life@Taichung” (Link for iPhone, Link for Android) and used the included bus information to help us. Unfortunately the App cannot tell you how to get from A to B. It just provides a list of all bus lines with its bus stops in english language. It also can tell when the next bus arrives. We knew more or less which stop we are at and i started checking the bus lines that stop there. Number 5 stopped at city hall and train station so we decided that this bus could take us to the city center. We also used navigation system on our phones to check where the bus is driving and to help us find the right stop to get out (Sygic navigation system works without internet and has maps for Taiwan).
Update: I just realized that we were totally silly ^^ There is a really easy way to find out how to get from A to B in Taichung: We can just use google maps! There click on “get directions” and choose public transit as mode of transport. Seems to work really well! 🙂 Why didn’t anyone think of that before?? There is a faster bus going to the train station so next time i won’t need one hour 🙂
Finally the bus took us to the city center but it took at least one hour to get there! During the trip we looked out of the window to get some impressions of the city. Can you make out the German writing on this shop sign?
Finally we got off the bus after a shaky one hour trip at Taichung park. After we arrived there I realized that I had been there one year before with my host family. 🙂 This time we just walked around a bit and took some pictures. It is a really beautiful small park. We saw many turtles swimming in the lake!
From Taichung park we walked to Taichung train station. At the train station is a tourist information center where we collected many information brochures. Especially useful are the brochures “Great Fun in Taichung” and “Taichung city with Delicious”. The first one gives much information on sightseeing locations. This is really useful for me, as my travel guidebook for the whole of Taiwan says about Taichung only “there is not much to see…”. The second one gives tips on what and where to eat in the city. At the tourist information office I also registered for the Youth Travel Card. Registration is really easy (just needed to show an ID and fill out a paper) and now I can get discounts in many places in Taiwan. Unfortunately this means before going anywhere I have to check now if maybe this place offers discounts in my 150 page discount handbook. ^^
On our way to the train station we walked through Juguang Pedestrian street which has many shops:
You can see Taichung train station in the background:
After our stop at the train station we tried to find Stock 20. That is a street of old warehouses in which artists now have their work and showrooms. There are many signs that show the way to the train station. Although we tried our best to follow them, we at one point ended up in a narrow, dead-end street:
Hmmm 😉 Well finally we found Stock 20. I think some parts where already closed because there was not much to see. Just one exhibition hall with art from different artists.
At that point I was already starting to feel a bit of a headache and so we didn’t stay much longer. We quickly looked into a big department store where we saw some celebrity performing and lot’s of Taiwanese girls screaming in excitement:
And we saw some cute dogs! 😉
So this was my first short glimpse of Taichung city center. We took a taxi back to university which was much faster than the bus (max 20 minutes) and not expensive. This saturday I will visit Taichung again. This time the plan is to visit the National Museum of Natural Science, a huge electronics store and some shopping areas close to the train station (this time it will be a girls trip so some shopping will be involved). 🙂
Next time I will tell you about my “Taichung at night” experiences and soon I will tell you about my first classes at university.